To Stay or To Go – Aging in the Right Place
Although our company, Next Step Transitions, helps people to stay in their existing homes, it is still the most common question we are asked: “should we stay, or should we go?” And the answer is as variable and unique as the individuals who pose the question. As difficult as it may be, having this conversation will not only impact the probability of healthy aging, but it can often mean the difference between life and death.
Thoroughly examining the best options for someone to age in the right place seems to be lost in some sort of battle of societal norms on aging, rather than best interests. But think about where you live now, and the thought you put into this before transitioning. Is it near schools? Are there enough bedrooms for children – or guests? Will I have an office space? What will my commute be like? Am I near friends or family? What are the costs? The considerations can be endless, but with the elderly, we tend to quickly dismiss similar apprehensions. The concerns may have changed slightly, but purpose, connections and costs are still key questions, with just one fundamental addition – our health.
If we do not have the right supports to maintain or manage our health, the rest of our concerns may not really matter – no matter what our age.
When first approaching health concerns with the elderly; consider the following:
- Has there been a recent fall in the home?
- Have there been any changes to mobility or strength?
- Have you noticed any changes to memory, cognition, mood or behaviors?
- Have there been any challenges with self-care, such as personal hygiene or toileting?
- Are there any new health conditions or new medications?
Changes to our health do not indicate either a need to move or to stay, but they do provide insight that certain changes need to happen. This may include modifying the physical home to make is easier and safer to move around. It could be hiring a reputable home care agency to come in to provide additional support. Or it may truly be best to find a new home in a great retirement community.
Once the health spectrum is evaluated – substantial consideration can then be given to aging in a home that fulfills purpose, maintains connections and meets financial concerns.
When possible, having an objective person to go through these options can be incredibly helpful; and there are many organizations in Ottawa that can support and guide you along the way. Finding the right place to live can be a challenge, but by taking the time to have the conversation – we have the opportunity to help our loved ones age safely, happily and healthily for years to come.
If you are unsure where to start, our registered health care professionals are always here to help. Please contact us for a free in home consultation or visit our website for more information.
Kyla Cullain, R.N., BScN, MN
CEO & Founder of Next Step Transitions Inc.
www.thenextstep.ca | 613-402-5613 | firstname.lastname@example.org